Juan and his family are extremely poor.
They live in a small, poor village on one of the mountains near Lake Atitlan in Guatemala. Juan and his wife are illiterate but he has a skill that gives him a little income to help his family– he carves backstrap looms by hand. Backstrap looms are used by most of the Mayan women to weave all types of fabric for household use and to also make clothing. However, backstrap looms last a long time so Juan’s sales are not great because women don’t need to replace them very often.
Juan and his wife have 13 children and they live in a one room home with a dirt floor kitchen attached.
We have talked with Juan and his wife about their needs and the first thing they mentioned was a new house or repairs to their present house. The second thing they talked of was needing sufficient food for their children. The third item was help with sending their children to school.
Our work with the artisans not only gives them dignity in their work and in receiving a fair wage for that work but with the profits that we have from selling their products we return it to Guatemala to help better the lives of the artisans and their families.
Juan is a humble man – he doesn’t want handouts but really wants to work. With his carving work and the extra benefits through our Fair Trade work, we are hoping to help Juan and his family.
We would like to thank all our customers that have bought Juan’s backstrap looms! Every sale helps him and his family earn money to be able to live a little better!
If you would like to help support our project for Educational Support of our artisan families please donate to our Educational Support Fund or sponsor one of Juan’s children to attend school.
If you would like to order one of Juan’s handcarved looms check out our webstore or order any one of our other Fair Trade products to help another artisan!